Tahiti beach soccer team in preparation
Tahiti faces a race against time to prepare for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in August.
The Executive Committee of the Oceania Football Confederation has designated French territory to attend the tournament in Russia, following the cancellation of the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup due to Covid-19.
The Tiki Toa have played the last five World Cups, with a better place among the finalists in 2015 and 2017.
Tahiti missed the quarter-finals in 2019 and coach Naea Bennett said they haven’t played since.
“We didn’t do anything. It was very difficult because most of the players play normal football first, regular football, and this season has been very complicated with Covid,” he said.
“We had to stop the championship and start over and stop again so … it was very hard.”
Bennett was part of the Tahitian squad that finished fourth in the 2013 World Cup at home and reached the final in the following two tournaments.
With their place in the World Cup now confirmed, Bennett plans to meet with the Tahiti Football Federation about their preparation over the next three months.
“We were waiting to see if we qualified, but now that the OFC has made the decision, we will also be making preparations starting in July.”
With the pandemic still out of control in many parts of the world, the former Tiki Toa star admitted that there is no guarantee the World Cup will go ahead.
“We don’t know what will happen next month or the next two months – will the borders open to the public to come to countries? There is a lot that we don’t know yet,” he said. -he declares.
“We need to check what’s going on in the world because I’m not sure they’ll let us fly to another country for our preparation.”
But if Tahiti is to arrive in Russia fully prepared for the World Cup, it may have to leave its shores as early as next month, Bennett said.
“I need at least two months for a good preparation and for that we have to fly to Europe maybe a month before the start of the World Cup.”